The Sicilian’s Tale

Not many people read Henry Wadsworth Longfellow any more, but some of his poems do have unexpected treats. Longfellow himself was a distinctly rational believer, a faithful Unitarian. Some of his poems, though, had a wider religious message, and his Christmas Bells has been much recorded in modern times. Someone could write a good book [Read More…]

Rome or Death

I’ve just returned from a month of travels in Italy—Orvieto, Ravenna, Rome, Naples.  (The life of a scholar is sometimes tough, but someone has to do it.)  One of the highlights of the trip was the opportunity to work in the Vatican archives for the first time; I read there the correspondence from the nineteenth [Read More…]


I just returned from a visit to Italy. Traveling in Europe can often be depressing, even heartbreaking, if you know the modern history, especially of the World War II years. Italy, though, offers quite different themes, which are still not as well known as they should be. It’s an inspiring story. I don’t want to [Read More…]